Social studies comparing japan and china by leslie singleton and amanda tesarz
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Social Studies Comparing Japan and China By: Leslie Singleton And Amanda Tesarz. Grade Level: Second Grade. Lesson: Comparing and Contrasting two important Asian nations: China and Japan. Objectives. Introduce Japanese and Chinese culture and geography

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Social studies comparing japan and china by leslie singleton and amanda tesarz l.jpg

Social StudiesComparing Japan and ChinaBy: Leslie SingletonAndAmanda Tesarz

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Grade Level: Second Grade


Comparing and Contrasting two important Asian nations:

China and Japan

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  • Introduce Japanese and Chinese culture and geography

  • Compare and contrast geographical and cultural characteristics of Japan and China

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Materials Needed:

  • World Map

  • Encyclopedias

  • Various books on China And Japan

  • Food samples from China and Japan

  • Various items to represent China and Japan (example: kimonos, origami samples, chopsticks, Japanese and Chinese toys)

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Web Sites

  • Enchanted Learning

  • Asia for Elementary Students and Teachers

  • Ask Asia

  • What’s Cool in Japan

  • Global School Network

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Characteristics of China

  • Capital: Beijing

  • Size: 9,596,960 square kilometers

  • Population: 1,261,832,482 (as of July, 2000)


  • Climate: Ranges from desert to tropical subarctic

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Characteristics of China, Cont.

  • Major Rivers: the Yangtse River, the Yellow River, and the Pearl River

  • Mountain Ranges: the Ch’ang-pai Mountains, the Tsinling Mountains, and the Nan range (also: the Himalayas boarder China)

  • Transportation: Because China is so heavily populated , many people use bicycles instead of cars for transportation

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Chinese Inventions

  • Chopsticks

  • Paper

  • Block printing

  • Compass

  • Gunpowder

  • Kites

  • Ink

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Characteristics of Japan

  • Capital: Tokyo

  • Size: 378,000 square kilometers

  • Population: 125 million (making it the world’s eighth most populous nation)

  • Climate: most of Japan is in the Temperate Zone and has a humid monsoon climate

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Characteristics of Japan, Cont.

  • Location: Japan lies on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean and east of the Eurasian continent. It consists of several thousand islands and islets.

  • Traditional dress: the kimono (although it is now usually worn for special occasions, such as weddings and during New Year)

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The Umbrella

  • The Chinese introduced the umbrella to the Japanese almost 2,000 years ago. The umbrella was made out of oiled paper and bamboo. The Chinese called the umbrella “karakasas.” They are still handmade. They were used to keep the rain off their silk robes and to keep the sun off their faces.

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  • No one knows when chopsticks were first used, but they were first invented in China. Chopsticks can be traced back as far as the third century B.C. Chopsticks are used in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and China. Chopsticks are most often made of bamboo, but the Emperor and Emperoress’ s chopsticks are made of ivory, because ivory turns colors if the food has poison in it.

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  • Both Chinese and Japanese eat with chopsticks.

  • Rice is an extremely important part of the Chinese and Japanese diets.

  • In addition to rice, both like bread and noodles and a wide array of meats, fishes, vegetables, and fruits.

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  • A long time ago, Japan borrowed Chinese characters, and they’re still extensively used in Japanese writing.

  • Japanese names (people and places) are written in Chinese with the same characters that are used in Japanese. However, the pronunciations are often completely different. For instance Nihon(Japan) is Riben, Tokyo is Dongjing, and Osaka is Daban.

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Chinese and Japanese numbers are written the same, but pronounced differently. Here are the numbers one through ten:

Japanese and Chinese Numbers











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Activities for the Classroom: pronounced differently. Here are the numbers one through ten:

  • Lead the students through a step-by-step instruction on writing Japanese numbers one through ten.

  • Bring in samples of Japanese and Chinese food for the students to taste.

  • Make a Venn diagram with the students to compare and contrast Japan and China.

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Activities for the Classroom, Cont. pronounced differently. Here are the numbers one through ten:

  • Have students make individual banners celebrating the Chinese and Japanese New Year.

  • Allow the students to select a favorite book about China or Japan and illustrate the cover or favorite part of book.